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Pack patience when you hit the road this summer

Well, the summer road construction season is upon us again. This means that there will be times this summer when the shortest distance between two points is either under construction or closed for maintenance. Although getting stopped or delayed when you are on your way to work can be a real pain, it’s an unfortunate reality of a community owned road system. I’m hoping that these delays will be a little easier to stomach if the community has a better feel for the plan (yes, there is a plan) behind Nevada County’s road maintenance program.

For starters let’s get a feel for the public road system in our county. Nevada County operates and maintains 561 miles of public roads. Of this mileage, 413 miles are paved and 148 miles are unpaved dirt and gravel roads. In addition to these County roads, there are 1,840 miles of private roads maintained by neighborhood associations or individuals in our county. There are also many miles of roads operated and maintained by Caltrans (I-80, Highways 20, 49, 89, 174, and 267) as well as streets maintained by Truckee, Grass Valley and Nevada City. Let’s focus only on the 561 miles of County maintained public roads.

The maintenance of our county roads are funded by several sources. All of these funds are taxes that our community pays through several different sources. The largest road maintenance funding sources by far are gas tax and vehicle registration fees. We also receive considerable revenue through the federal and state highway programs which are, to a certain extent, gas tax based. And in case you’re wondering, for each gallon of gas you buy, you pay 18.4 cents in federal tax, 18 cents in state tax and 7.25 percent in state and local sales tax which, to a large extent, goes to maintain our local, state and national roads. Contrary to popular belief, property taxes are not used to maintain our County road system.



This year Nevada County will spend, on your behalf, about $14 million of tax dollars on our County road system. The planned work is as follows:

– Routine Maintenance: $ 3.9 million.




This is a countywide activity, which includes pothole patching, shoulder grading, brush removal and a variety of other routine activities.

– Asphalt Overlays: $ 3.3 million.

Portions of the following roads are scheduled for overlay this summer: Rough and Ready Highway, Combie Road, Wolf Creek Road, Indian Springs Road, Loma Rica Drive, South Ponderosa Way, Mooney Flat Road, McCourtney Road, and Hobart Mills Road. A total of about 19 miles are scheduled to be overlayed.

– Bridge Replacement/Rehab: $ 3.0 million.

The Floriston bridge on the Truckee River is scheduled for replacement this summer.

– Safety Projects: $ 1.4 million.

Portions of the following roads are scheduled for shoulder widening this summer: Wolf Road, Duggans Road, Allison Ranch Road and Dog Bar Road.

– Pavement Chipseals: $ 1.2 million.

We plan to chipseal portions of 55 different roads this summer. The road names are too numerous to list. Please call our office for more information. A total of about 26 miles are scheduled to be chipsealed.

– Snow Removal: $ 0.7 million.

Snow removal is countywide. We contract for these services in the Truckee area and use County crews in western Nevada County. By the way, we do read letters to the editor. Last winter’s letters and blogs on snow removal were interesting and we are paying attention.

– System Expansion (Capacity): $ 0.5 million.

You can see that our crews and contractors will be busy throughout the County this summer. As always, our greatest priorities are maintaining what we have and keeping the roads safe.

We will do our best to keep the community informed as to when work may be happening in your neighborhood. We do this through press releases and, in some cases road signs warning of upcoming delays. So keep an eye on your news source of choice and, as always, please call the Department of Public Works at 265-1411 if you have any questions.

Doug Farrell is the Director of Public Works in the Community Development Agency of the County of Nevada.


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